Observation: The Vietnamese know how to do nothing.
This is not equivalent with laziness.
In fact, it's honest and unassuming.
Vietnamese people can sit by themselves or in groups, on benches or in a squatting position, and not look at their phones. They might talk, or simply be silent.
Most of the security guards that line the beach in Da Nang are paid to do this during the days, when the beaches are near empty. That and wear uniforms.
This is not true for all people, of course. Vietnamese teenagers love to sit on their phones at the cafes in the city center.
But really, there's something incredibly egotistical and self-important in always talking about how busy one is--a behavior that's prevalent in America.
Busyness, like idleness, is almost always a choice.
I often used to talk about how busy I was at work. And I was. I was doing the job of two or more people during most of my tenure at Founders.
This was a choice, too. I could've let things drop, or rushed through them. I could have refused to take on new projects or additional responsibilities. I could have asked for help. Hell, I could have quit (sooner than I did).
But other people were talking about being busy--sometimes rightfully so, sometimes not so much. I felt I needed to be busier to prove my self worth, and to talk about it, too. Now I see that this is a pointless vicious cycle.
In some parts of the world, if you complain of being busy, the reaction is more along the lines of "Oh, that's too bad..." and "When will you be able to get through this busy time?" In other words, pity.
People in Vietnam work hard, with long hours or tough physical labor, but they seem to just do it. Because it's what you do.
I'm trying to get better at just being. To be OK with not being busy, or having any right whatsoever to claim busyness seeing as I'm currently unemployed. I want to hold onto this OK-ness, this lack of self-importance.
It's different. It's refreshing.
I quit a job I enjoyed at Founders Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and left my family, friends, and beloved dog to join my boyfriend in moving across the world, in search of adventure and new experiences. I arrived in August 2015.